Rhode Island Defends Atlantic 10 Men's Indoor Track & Field Title

Photo Credit: Dan Petty
Photo Credit: Dan Petty

POST CHAMPIONSHIP INTERVIEWS


KINGSTON, R.I. - The Rhode Island Men's Indoor Track & Field team won its second consecutive Atlantic 10 Championship and fourth in five years, edging out George Mason on Sunday. 

Head Coach John Copeland earned his 19th indoor/outdoor championship and was named Atlantic 10 Men's Track & Field Coach of the Year. 

After ending Day One in second place, trailing George Mason by 12 points, there was work to be done in order for Rhode Island to repeat as champions.

After eight events, George Mason led by 21 points overall, but Rhode Island was able to take a 191-181 lead when Ondrej Honka and Michael DiMambro finished 1-2 in the Men's Heptathlon. 

That lead change set up for a thrilling finish at Mackal Field House with just the 4x800m and 4x400m relay events remaining. The Patriots lowered the deficit by two points in the 4x800m relay, unofficially tying St. Joseph's for first-place in a photo-finish. The Rhode Island team of John DiGangi, Kevin Lochard, Alexander McGrainer, and Zach Campo were .05 seconds behind and finished third.

Rhody took an eight-point edge into the 4x400m relay event, the final event of the competition, and sent three freshman and a sophomore to the track, knowing that sixth place or better would clinch the title. Jaleel Felton, Casey Burley, Jared Gray, and Marlon Montague clocked a time of 3:20.39, good enough for third place and enough points to close out the championship.

"We went relied on our depth in the 4x400, going with three freshmen and a sophomore," said Assistant Coach Rob Whitten. "We had some guys that were knicked up and tight, so we went with the depth knowing we needed sixth, and they got third, so they did a great job."

Along with his victory in the heptathlon, Honka was victorious in the Men's Open Pole Vault on day one. He set new personal records in four events of the heptathlon, in addition to his overall score of 5271 points.

Burley was the winner in the Men's Long Jump, edging out Byron Sintim of George Mason. The Rhody freshman jumped 7.13m, defeating Sintim by .01.

After pulling his hamstring in the event last year, DeAngelo Berry got redemption in the Men's 60m Dash, winning the event with a time of 6.87s, just .02 shy of the A-10 record.

The Men's Indoor Track and Field squad will look to follow up the A-10 Championship on Friday/Saturday, February 27-28, at the New England Championship meet in Boston, Mass.